TEMPE, Ariz. – Arizona State was in a zone.
That allowed Klay Thompson to get into one as well.
The result was a career-high 28 points for the Washington State freshman and a 65-55 Cougar upset of the 14th-ranked Sun Devils in a Pac-10 men’s basketball game played before 10,745 at Wells Fargo Arena.
“I’ve felt like that before, but not for a while,” the soft-spoken Thompson said of his 10-of-17 shooting, including 8 of 10 from beyond the arc. “It was good to get back in that rhythm.
“They were playing a zone, so it is easier to get open looks from 3 instead of against man-to-man. … We would have played tighter on me, but they’re a zone team and they play it well, so they didn’t change what’s working for them.”
It wasn’t working this night, because Thompson was, according to Taylor Rochestie, “hunting his shot.” He did it by playing the rover spot in WSU’s zone offense, running the baseline and coming off screens for open looks.
Thompson hit Washington State’s first shot, a 22-footer from the wing, scored the Cougars’ first five points and combined with center Aron Baynes for 25 of WSU’s 27 first-half points.
The shocker wasn’t built by Thompson alone, but it was his five 3-pointers in the first 10 minutes, 16 seconds of the second half that allowed the Cougars (12-8, 4-4) to erase a three-point halftime deficit and finally surge in front 44-43.
That lead came on Thompson’s eighth long-range bucket – both his makes and attempts were career highs and WSU freshman records – that put the Cougars ahead for good. He finished 10 of 17 from the floor.
“Thompson was sensational, despite our efforts to know where he was,” ASU coach Herb Sendek said. “Every time he broke free, he made us pay dearly.”
With the lead, the seniors took over, with Baynes, who finished with 22 points and nine rebounds, and Rochestie, who posted a full stat line with 11 points, five rebounds, four assists and no turnovers, scoring all but two of WSU’s final 21 points.
Rochestie, who didn’t score in the opening half, hit a 3 with 6:28 left to up the lead to 49-43. Then, when ASU (16-4, 5-3) rallied to pull within 51-49, he crushed the Sun Devils’ hopes with a 24-footer with 3:33 left and a pass to Baynes 2 minutes later for a dunk and an insurmountable 56-49 lead.
The only other WSU basket down the stretch came from DeAngelo Casto, who did most of his work on the other end.
Casto, the 6-foot-8 freshman post from Spokane, came off the bench with 15:46 left and guarded James Harden, the Sun Devils’ 6-4 All-America guard and the Pac-10’s leading scorer, the rest of the way.
Though Harden scored 10 of ASU’s final 12 points – he finished with 26, four more than his average, – he had to work for each. He went long stretches without getting a shot as WSU built its lead. The other Devils were 4 of 18 after halftime.
“I told him (Casto) early in the week, ‘D, be ready, you might get your chance,’ ” Bennett said. “He was kind of our wild card to guard (Harden).”
WSU 65, Arizona State 55
|Washington State (12-8, 4-4)||Min||M-A||M-A||O-T||A||PF||PTS|
Percentages: FG .429, FT .929. 3-Point Goals: 10-20, .500 (Thompson 8-10, Rochestie 2-5, Harmeling 0-3, Harthun 0-1, Koprivica 0-1). Team Rebounds: 1. Blocked Shots: 3 (Casto 2, Baynes). Turnovers: 7 (Baynes 2, Casto, Harmeling, Harthun, Koprivica, Thompson). Steals: 0. Technical Fouls: None.
|Arizona State (16-4, 5-3)||Min||M-A||M-A||O-T||A||PF||PTS|
Percentages: FG .373, FT .588. 3-Point Goals: 7-25, .280 (Glasser 2-2, Harden 2-8, Kuksiks 2-10, Shipp 1-2, Abbott 0-1, McMillan 0-2). Team Rebounds: 2. Blocked Shots: 1 (Pendergraph). Turnovers: 6 (Harden 4, Kuksiks 2). Steals: 2 (Harden, Kuksiks). Technical Fouls: None.
Halftime–Arizona State 30, Washington State 27. A–10,745.
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